French and Webb recognized for safe work environment

By Ben Holbrook | Dec 19, 2012
Photo by: Ben Holbrook From left: Peter Webb, Jeanne S. Paquette, Maine department of labor commissioner, Amanda Green of French and Webb and Todd French are presented the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award.

Belfast — French and Webb is one of 57 businesses in the state to receive the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program award for its commitment to providing a safe work environment.

A plaque designating the achievement was presented to the company on behalf of the state and federal departments of labor during a brief ceremony Thursday, Dec. 13. As a recipient of the SHARP designation, French and Webb is exempt from Occupational Health and Safety Administration inspections for two years.

Mayor Walter Ash Jr. spoke highly of the accomplishments of Todd French and Peter Webb, noting how proud the city is of their work.

“They’re doing a great job,” Ash said. “We couldn’t be prouder of them.”

In order to receive the award, French and Webb had to request a consultation that involved a safety and health hazard identification survey; include employees in the consultation process; correct all hazards identified by the consultants; implement and maintain a safety and health management system; and have injury and illness rates below the national average for its business classification.

In total, the entire process took about a year and a half to complete in order to earn the SHARP designation.

“It’s a really high honor,” French said of the designation.

The desire to participate in SHARP was precipitated by a letter French and Webb, as well as other boatyards across the state, received from OSHA alerting them that their facilities would be inspected. Instead of being forced to react to any safety deficiencies, French and Webb decided to take a proactive approach.

“It’s a thoughtful approach versus a reactive one,” French said of SHARP. “It was a really good program. It’s effective.”

Webb said he was most impressed by the fact that out of the approximately 45,000 businesses in Maine, French and Webb is one of just 57 companies to receive the SHARP designation.

“We’re going to have to work hard to maintain it,” he said.

Amanda Green of French and Webb took charge of the efforts to meet the SHARP specifications. Green said much of her time was spent compiling the paperwork required by OSHA. In addition, she said she and a few other employees attended a two-day workshop to further educate themselves about maintaining a safe work environment.

“It’s satisfying that it’s complete and that we got it,” Green said. “It’s good to be successful.”

After the two-year exemption period ends, French and Webb will have the opportunity to renew its designation by completing the program again. Department of Labor Deputy Director Steven L. Greeley said many of the companies that receive the designation are successful when seeking a renewal.

According to the OSHA website, receiving a SHARP designation can help businesses save money by reducing worker's compensation insurance premiums, retaining skilled workers and reducing the number of hours employees miss work due to injury or illness.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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